Olympic weight lifting is often confused with Power lifting. Both types of weight lifting involve barbells, although the Olympic bar has ball bearings in it, this allows the bar to spin through the air during an Olympic type lift. Power lifters tend to compete wearing beanie hats and the various competitions usually consist of approximately 6 inch squats, deadlifts and bench press. Whilst this style of weight lifting can be helpful to sports people and athletes when prescribed correctly by an experienced strength and conditioning coach they tend to appeal to a relatively specialist gym population.
They are both competitive sports in their own right, but this article is aiming to focus on the benefits of Olympic style lifting for the intermediate to advanced gym user and sports person. Olympic weight lifting requires far greater levels of flexibility and in fact power. It would make sense to call power lifting competitions strength lifting competitions as they require greater levels of strength than they do power.
To throw an object above your own head requires a great deal of effort and power. Effectively it burns a huge amount of calories especially when repeated for multiple sets and reps. WARNING: IF YOU SUFFER FROM HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE YOU SHOULD CONSULT A DOCTOR BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT A WEIGHT LIFTING PROGRAM. The Olympic lifts are often the best way to improve an individual’s (and an athlete’s) power if it is lacking in their sporting performance. The Snatch lift for instance has direct correlation to jumping ability. This makes them a very important weapon for those undertaking athletic type training.
The two Olympic lifts, Clean and Jerk, and Snatch can be broken down into component parts for training benefits, ie cleans, clean and squat, clean pull, snatch pull etc. Plus the two deadlift forms they correspond to. Blocks or a hang position can be used in some cases, especially if an individual isn’t blessed with the best flexibility or has minor back injuries or a history of minor back pain.
When the loading is correct, almost anyone can master these lifts. I suggest the Vipr as one of the beginners option. Try the clean as a first step or as a warm up. Always seek the advice of the gym staff and personal trainers. If you have any questions relating to this article, or anything else gym or health and fitness related please don’t hesitate to ask.